I’ve been married for almost 14 years, since I was a young idiot who had zero clue what marriage actually meant. Our first decade of marriage was largely child-free. I won’t say it was easier B.K. (before kiddo) because I don’t think that’s quite true. Sure, we had all the time in the world to enjoy each other’s company and our date nights were unencumbered by the fiscal and scheduling challenges of securing a babysitter. But we also had all the time in the world to think about ourselves and what we were or were not getting from each other. I’ll admit, I generated a lot more of this than my husband. Okay, I generated most of it. But having only each other to worry about puts a lot more focus on the highs and lows of a normal relationship. When you have the life sucked out of you by a preschooler, you aren’t consumed as much by what’s working and what isn’t because as long as everyone is fed, clothed and their butt is wiped, everything is working, am I right?
It’s a lesson I wish I could teach my B.K. self. I want to yell at her and say “Just enjoy what you have! Soon you won’t even remember the last time you had a real conversation!”
I put “date my husband” on my list because as I began to create a list of things that I wanted more of in my life, I realized that QT with my husband was severely lacking. Our quality time together happens after the kiddo has gone to bed and it usually includes exciting things like: getting stuff ready for tomorrow, putting the kiddo back to bed twice, and finally sinking into the couch to watch an hour of TV before going to bed. We usually sneak in a couple of hand squeezes without words while we watch TV just to let the other one know “I love you but I’m too tired to speak”.
I’d love to live in a world where my bank account says “Girl! Get a babysitter! You two could use some time together!
But my bank account is more like…hmm…that’s gonna be a no.
If babysitters and money grew on trees, there would be no issue. We’d be out on a date night every other week. But alas, they do not and we are at home on the couch trying to stay awake for more than one episode of Homeland.
I decided that with the limitations of schedule and money that I could get creative with date nights in. I came up with a genius date night for Valentine’s Day that I knew would be a home run. Once our sweet little angel went to bed, I had a blind bourbon tasting complete with a semi-homemade (thanks Trader Joe’s!) pairing menu to surprise my husband. I imagined that we would sit around a candlelit table sipping on bourbon and catching up on a week’s worth of conversation.
What actually happened is that my son was sent home from daycare early with a fever and a double ear infection and we sipped bourbon and snacked on our dinner while taking turns cuddling him and trying to put him back to bed. We enjoyed our last round of bourbon as he drifted off to sleep which we took as a cue to both nod off on the couch mid-conversation. Total home run.
Here’s what I learned from this date night face plant.
- Take advantage of the quiet moments when they present themselves. There are plenty of nights when our little one is snoozing and we choose TV over conversation.
- Planning can be tricky when you have unpredictable circumstances named Calvin. Have some ideas on deck for date night in to take advantage of those windows of time.
- Even if things don’t go as planned, the effort still matters to the person on the receiving end.
- Get a babysitter. Even if it’s not as often as I’d like, it’s important. This reminds me…start a babysitting swap is on my list…
If any of you have great ideas for how to do date night in or how to make date night out more attainable, please send help!